What should I do if I was caught with someone elses property? 4 Answers as of May 25, 2011

I am 18 years old and in high school. I went into the locker room and there was an ipod and small bottle of cologne on the ground. I picked it up and walked out with both of them. After school let out I had to hurry home because I wanted to finish packing for my trip I was getting ready to leave for after baseball practice. I went back by the school on my way to baseball practice to drop off a coat that one of my friends had let me use, when he saw the ipod in my car he knew whose it was and took it out of my car along with the cologne. The thing is even though I took both items and put them in my car I was in a big hurry and never really got the chance to find out who's it was and give it back or turn it in. Now the family is pressing charges and I have a court date for theft 2. I live in Oregon.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
In Oregon, to be convicted of theft you must have the intent to "permanently deprive" someone of their property. According to your information, it appears that it was your intent to eventually track down the rightful owner and return the items. You just hadn't gotten around to doing that yet. I would hope that if you ever spoke to the police (generally not a good idea by the way) about this incident, you mentioned that you were planning on returning the items as soon as you got back from your trip. Best case scenario is the DA looks at the reports and determines this may not be necessary be a case of theft and instead could be a case of you picking up someone else's stuff to return it and not to keep it. In that case the DA may decided to "no complaint" your case (essentially not charge you). If so you will find out at your court date (called an "arraignment"). If you are charged with Theft 2, get a lawyer (if you haven't already) and tell the lawyer what happened. It sounds like a defensible theft case.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/25/2011
Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
If you picked up lost abandoned property with the intent of returning it to its owner, that's not theft. Talk to your lawyer about it. If you haven't got a lawyer, hire one. If you can't afford one, the court will appoint one. Was it in an unlocked locker? When was it missed? When could you plausibly have returned it, and to whom?
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/24/2011
Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
You need to get a lawyer as soon as possible. Theft is a misdemeanor, and can have serious consequences on your future. If the family is pressing charges, then it's not likely the state will just drop the case. A good attorney can help negotiate on your behalf, and if necessary, can represent you at trial. It sounds like you have a decent case, but you won't be able to present your side by yourself. I'm a former Portland prosecutor and have a lot of experience with these kinds of cases. You are welcome to call me for a free consult. But whatever you do, you need to act soon.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/24/2011
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
Can I assume you are under 18? If so, your matter should be handled in juvenile court and they may offer you a Formal accountability agreement, where you do certain things and the matter never gets prosecuted. That would be a very good outcome for you. If you are 18 or over, you may face prosecution as an adult. If this is your first offense, there may be a diversion program that may be available for you through the District Attorney's office. Your crime is theft of mislaid property. If someone left something, it doesn't become yours. If you take it to find the owner or to turn it into lost and found, then you need to do it immediately; otherwise leave it alone. I understand you did not intend to steal it, but your actions say you did. Delay in looking for the owner or putting it in the hands of someone with authority to hold it (lost and found) you put yourself into a bad light. The worse thing here is if you are a baseball player, your teammates will question your integrity, on and off the ball field. As an athlete and person, do you really want your friends, peers and family to ever have the slightest question in their mind about your honesty? Now you have a really tough job of rebuilding trust. I have practices juvenile law for 29 years and before all that in high school I played on a national championship baseball team. Trust is everything! Take care and good luck. Call if you want to talk more.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/24/2011
Click to View More Answers: